Crack Platoon or Dhaka Crack Platoon was a special commando team of the Mukti Bahini which was formed in 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was formed by young members of Mukti Bahini which carried out commando operations in Dhaka and its surroundings and led by Major Khaled Mosharraf. The commandos were mostly students and civilians, received guerrilla training later in the training camps for Mukti Bahini in India and then engaged in battle against Pakistan Army.
In August 1947, the Partition of British India gave rise to two new states; the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, the latter intended to be a homeland for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent. The Dominion of Pakistan comprised two geographically and culturally separate areas to the east and the west of India. The western zone was popularly (and for a period of time, also officially) termed West Pakistan and the eastern zone (now Bangladesh) was initially termed East Bengal and later, East Pakistan. Although the population of the two zones was close to equal, political power was concentrated in West Pakistan and it was widely perceived that East Pakistan was being exploited economically, leading to many grievances. Administration of two discontinuous territories was also seen as a challenge. On 25 March 1971, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in East Pakistan was met by brutal suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment, in what came to be termed Operation Searchlight
The events of the nine-month conflict of the Bangladesh Liberation War are widely viewed as genocide; the Pakistan Army and collaborators targeted Hindu communities, intellectuals and members of the political opposition for attacks. Historians have estimated that, during the conflict, between two hundred thousand and four hundred thousand women and children were raped leading to an estimated 25,000 war babies being born. Estimates of persons killed during the conflict range from between 269,000 to one to three million. An estimated ten million refugees entered India, a situation which contributed to its government's decision to intervene militarily in the civil war. Thirty million people were displaced. Susan Brownmiller documented that girls from the age of eight to grandmothers of seventy-five suffered rapes during the war.
Formation of Muktibahini
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The Mukti Bahini consisted of Bengali members of Pakistan armed forces and civilians from East Pakistan, in response to the Operation Searchlight on 25 March 1971, a violent military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement through selective genocide of Bengali people.
Mukti Bahini used Guerrilla warfare tactics to fight against the Pakistan Army. India provided economic, military and diplomatic support to the Mukti Bahini, leading West Pakistan to launch Operation Chengiz Khan, a preemptive attack on the western border of India which started the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.The operation also precipitated the 1971 Bangladesh genocide and caused roughly 10 million refugees to flee to India. Essentially Bengali intelligentsia, academics and Hindus were targeted for the harshest treatment, with significant indiscriminate killing taking place. These systematic killings enraged the Bengalis, who declared independence from Pakistan, to achieve the new state of Bangladesh.
Formation and deployment of Crack Platoon
In June 1971, World Bank sent a mission to observe the situation in East Pakistan. The media cell of Pakistan government was circulating a news that situation in East Pakistan was stable and normal. Khaled Mosharraf, a sector commander of Mukti Bahini, planned to deploy a special commando team. The task assigned to the team was to carry out commando operations and to terrorise Dhaka. The major objective of this team was to prove that the situation was not normal actually. Moreover, Pakistan. at that time, was expecting economic aid from World Bank, which was assumed to be spent to buy arms. The plan was to make World Bank Mission understand the true situation of East Pakistan and stop sanctioning the aid. Khaled along with A.T.M Haider, another sector commander formed the Crack Platoon. Initially, number of commandos in the platoon was 17. Those commandos were receiving training in Melaghar Camp at that time. From Melaghar, commandos of Crack Platoon headed for Dhaka on 4 June 1971 and launched guerrilla operation on 5 June. Later, number of commandos was increased, the platoon was split and deployed in different areas surrounding Dhaka city.
Major objectives and success
The basic objectives of Crack Platoon were to demonstrate the strength of Mukti Bahini, terrorising Pakistan Army and their collaborators. Another major objective was proving to the international community that the situation in East Pakistan was not normal. That commando team also aimed at inspiring the people of Dhaka who were frequently being victims of killing and torture. These objectives were successfully fulfilled by Crack Platoon. The world Bank mission, in its report, clearly described the hazardous situation that was prevailing in East Pakistan. In the report world bank mission prescribed to end the military regime in East Pakistan. Crack Platoon carried out several successful and important operations. The power supply in Dhaka was devastated which caused severe problem for Pakistan Army and the military administration in Dhaka. The Chinese restaurants in Dhaka had become almost prohibited for Pakistani army officers.
Recognition and awards
The role of Crack Platoon in the Bangladesh Liberation War was highly appreciated by the post war government of Bangladesh and the people. Six commandos including Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury, the leader of Crack Platoon and a former minister were awarded Bir Bikrom, third highest gallantry award in Bangladesh and two commandos were awarded Bir Protik, fourth highest gallantry award in Bangladesh.
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